Is this trail too crowded? A choice experiment to evaluate tradeoffs and preferences of park visitors in Garibaldi Park, British Columbia

TitleIs this trail too crowded? A choice experiment to evaluate tradeoffs and preferences of park visitors in Garibaldi Park, British Columbia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsKohlhardt, R, Honey-Rosés, J, Lozada, SFernandez, Haider, W, Stevens, M
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Pagination1–24
KeywordsBritish Columbia, Canada, crowding, discrete choice experiment, leisure, outdoors, park fees, park management, part-worth utility, protected areas, recreation
Abstract

Large crowds in parks can be a problem for park managers and visitors. However, perceptions of crowding are difficult to measure due to coping mechanisms deployed by park visitors. Furthermore, perceptions of crowding should not be measured in isolation, but rather as part of a suite of conditions that comprise the visitors’ outdoor experience. We used a dichotomous choice experiment with visual images and eight attributes to estimate park users’ utilities associated with their visitor experience in Garibaldi Provincial Park in British Columbia, Canada. Our visual method allowed us to control for background view and compare user preferences on hiking trails with preferences at final destinations. We find that utilities are more sensitive to crowding at viewpoints than to other aspects of the outdoor experience. Thus, visitor satisfaction and crowding perceptions are more likely to be defined by where visitors have these encounters rather than the total number of encounters.

DOI10.1080/09640568.2017.1284047